Thursday 21 January 2010

Review: Walking the Faery Pathway

As anyone who regularly reads my blog will know, I love pretty much anything to do with faeries and I'm also fascinated by methods of divination. So, I was very pleased to get a new book called Walking the Faery Pathwayby Harmonia Saille, which also includes The Faery Caille, Oracle of Wands.

The description on the publicity that came with the book says:
"Take a trip down a faery pathway and meet the folk of the Otherworld, the realm of the faeries in this charming and practical guide. Harmonia Saille will take you step by step along the faery pathway, teaching you all about faery culture on the way, and showing you how to connect and communicate with them."
Walking the Faery Pathway seems a very personal book, full of Harmonia's own experiences. She describes particular points that seem to act as portals to the faery realms and what happened when she visited them. This is interspersed with interviews with children on the subject of faeries, which is particularly interesting as the young are often said to be more able to see the elusive little people than adults.

Combined with this is an introduction to the faeries of Europe and Scandinavia - their local names, descriptions, tales and also details of techniques to find faeries yourself.

These include dowsing for ley lines, which could reveal faery sites; pathworking exercises to meet faeries through guided visualisations; and advice on growing a garden or window box that will attract them to you and your home.

But, as I said earlier, this is really two books in one. The second half being The Faery Caille, Oracle of Wands- a divination system using twigs of wood from various trees, inscribed with symbols. This is a little similar to Ogham, an early Irish alphabet that is also used for fortune telling, but the markings and meanings are not exactly the same.

Nevertheless, the Faery Caille is a tree oracle that draws inspiration from the symbolic meaning attached to trees. For example, oak means strength and stability, hawthorn represents good luck with protection, willow is for healing, rowan offers magical protection, and yew means something must die so that rebirth can take place.

The divination system also links the traditional aspects of trees with associated faeries, such as dryads, elves, gnomes and figures such as fairy queens and fairy godmothers. This is intended so that the symbols can act as a communication channel between you and the faeries as well as to tell the future.

If this intrigues you, however, you will have to make your own set. Ideally, this means finding each of the trees and asking permission to gather a fallen twig on which to inscribe the appropriate symbol. This might seem like hard work, but I'm sure a divination set you have gathered and created yourself would be far more personal than one bought in a shop.

Nevertheless, if traipsing round woods and carving on twigs seems just too much effort, Harmonia also offers a description of how to make a set of Faery Caille by drawing the symbols on cards.

The publisher, O Books, describes Walking the Faery Pathway as being suitable for young adults upwards. If you are an oldie like me, don't let that put you off reading it. This is a lovely book offering some delightful insights into the Realm of Fearie as well as offering an unusual divination system.

Walking the Faery Pathway: Includes "The Faery Caille, Oracle of Wands" by Harmonia Saille is published by O Books and has an RRP of £11.99.

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